Mum puts own family through secret 'test' before letting them babysit

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Early parenthood can be fraught with worry. From whether the baby is eating and sleeping enough to worries about development, it's enough to make anyone hypervigilant.

Leaving the baby with others is a whole new world of stress, but most people feel safe leaving their precious bundle with trusted family members.

A mum in the UK, however, says she doesn't trust a single soul, admitting that she secretly 'tests' her own family, screening them to ensure they're competent for babysitting duties.

Posting on Reddit's Am I The A***** forum, the new mum wrote that her family is lining up to babysit her newborn baby daughter.

"My husband and I recently had a baby girl, and everyone in both our families keeps asking to babysit. I decided on a simple 'test' to see who's ready, where I ask family to watch her for a bit while I go do something in another room, like fold laundry or take a quick shower. Sometimes it goes bad, like my grandma turned off her hearing aid so she wouldn't be bothered by the baby crying. But other times it goes fine, and we've got a trusted new sitter."

Here's where the trouble starts.

"My BIL and SIL came to visit and wanted to babysit, so we tried the test. They didn't even have the baby for 2 minutes before coming to fetch me for help. I figured that meant they failed for now and just aren't ready to babysit a newborn yet, but we can try again when baby is older."

Unfortunately, her husband then lets the cat out of the bag, causing family disharmony and potentially ruining relationships.

"My BIL ended up heading home early, alone, saying he needed to work. Like a month later my SIL asked my husband why we didn't let them babysit. He told her about the test, and she got mad. SIL then said that we actually failed THEIR test, and that they had counted how many questions we asked them about themselves during the visit, and the answer was zero, so that was why BIL left."


This takes the new mother by complete surprise.

"I was thrown - I was sure I'd asked them about their flight, their jobs, a wedding they'd attended that we missed because of the baby- all the usual polite small talk. But we're exhausted, so it's totally possible I didn't. But even so...maybe cut the tired new parents some slack?"

After a number of snippy comments, the OP qualifies her actions writing, "BIL and SIL had never changed a diaper before and didn't seem interested in learning. And we're not asking anyone to babysit for us! It's family that keeps insisting we go out and give them alone time with the baby."

Lots of commenters are on the mum's side, however. 

"You have a NEWBORN and these narcissists are berating you for not being attentive to THEM? Laughable."

"You're allowed to vet anyone who will be taking care of your newborn including family," said another, adding, "I do think you could have been more open about testing you're family. There's no need to try and be sneaky, but it's clear that some of your family members are NOT prepared to babysit a newborn."

Another replied, "I think the sneakiness is preferred, so people don't try extra hard so they can get "babysitter status" and then slack of when the parents are away. However, a big part of the sneakiness is to not tell people about it..."

Others don't take at all kindly to the relatives being told, though admittedly it was her husband who did so.

"You're the a***** for telling them you tested them and they failed. If you do something like that you keep it to yourself."

Anyone who has ever been the primary carer of a newborn, however, knows just how fragile they are.

This Redditor can see through the terminology to the survival instincts at play here.

"Testing is arguably sketchy in some situations, but in this case you want to make sure your new baby stays alive. That's a perfectly valid test."

The majority, however, have voted that the new mum is an actual a@%hole for doing this to her family, and she edits the original post to write, "Thanks for the verdict, I'll send them an apology."

Let's hope they can move past this unpleasant episode and go on to greener pastures.

Photo: Reddit

Photo: Reddit